It was a mix of past, present and future this past weekend on the Dordt College campus.
The past was the welcoming of two 1,000 point scorers back to the campus to be recognized. Kevin Veenstra and Greg Van Soelen made their way back to campus as part of the 1988 team that was recognized on the 25th anniversary of that season when they set the Dordt College community on fire with a 25-5 record and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament quarterfinals in an era where the District 15 qualifiers didn’t fare so well at the 32 team carnival in Kansas City.
I was an impressionable high school senior at the time and the memories from that season are vivid. I remember standing in line to get in for the District Championship game, a victory that ended up being quite lopsided by post season standards. I remember listening to the 86-71 win over Mobile and I was in attendance at the McKendree game in the second round when the Defenders couldn’t miss, making all but one of their shots in the first half on the way to an 86-79 win. Things got pretty stiff in the quarterfinal round and the turnaround was too tight and the Defenders lost an 87-66 decision to Waynesburg.
Anyhow, 16 of the 18 men closely associated with that team, either as players, coaches and student assistants were there on Saturday.
If you were watching, a bright blue Duke t-shirt may have caught your eye. That belonged to Loren Greenfield, who, I’m going to guess was wearing the shirt for a friend who wasn’t there. Greenfield and Gailen Veurink were tight friends as college students. Gailen succumbed to cancer about 18 months ago and was a big Duke fan, so the t-shirt that may have appeared to be out of place, was the perfect nod in memory of a beloved teammate.
The present was a pair of wins for the Defenders. The women and men were both down at halftime but played sharp second halves with the women taking a firm hold on the game midway through the half. The men didn’t seal it until Kyle Lindbergh picked off a length of the floor pass to try to set up a game tying three-pointer. A Cliff Warner three from the right corner with under a minute to go changed the game from a one point contest to a four point difference that affected how the final moments were played out. Definately an enjoyable day.
The future points to recruiting future athletes and the men’s team picked up a pair over the weekend and the work on that front never ends….if you don’t have the influx of talent every year it gets difficult to put a quality team on the field/court.
So, in closing what did we learn from the past weekend? As coach Ross Douma put it. Recognize the past and those who have come before us, enjoy the present, look to the future.
Words to live by.